The latest generation Hyundai Sonata, which hit Australian dealerships yesterday, mightn’t appear vastly different to its predecessor but it’s the things you don’t often look at, which are the beneficiary of the model’s mid-life update.
Hyundai has adding steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters as standard across the range for the Sonata’s six-speed automatic gearboxes and Elite and Premium buyers now have a beige leather trim option inside.
Hyundai has looked to improve the tyre package for the Sonata. For the Active and Elite models, the 17-inch alloys will come with Continental Premium Contact 5 tyres replacing the standard Kumhos, while Michelin Pilot 3 boots will be fitted to the Premium variant. Hyundai believes the new tyres are better suited to Aussie roads; improving grip and ride comfort, and reducing road noise.
The entry-level Sonata Active is the model to receive the fewest changes apart from the tyre upgrade, which is reflected in $600 increase – taking the current list price from $29,990 to $30,590.
The mid-level Elite model benefits from the addition of rain-sensing wipers, an electronic parking brake with auto hold function, front parking assist, heated front seats and the option to fit the panoramic roof that remains standard in the top-of-the-range Premium. The upgraded Elite now carries a $38,350 list price.
At the higher end of the scale, the Premium gets a bevy of electronic driver aids included in its latest update. Among the list of improved safety features are lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection and the firm’s smart cruise control system, as well as lane-change assist and rear cross traffic alert which is similar to the blind-spot detection system, but activates when you’re in reverse.
The Premium sees the largest increase to its list price, rising to $45,490: an increase of $3500 on the 2016 model.
Under the bonnet, the front-wheel-drive engines in all three variants remain unchanged; the Active maintains its 138kW 2.4-litre petrol engine and the 180kW 2.0-litre turbo petrol power plant for the Elite and Premium variants stays.
The Elite and Premium models keep their eight-inch multi-media touchscreen while the Active’s five-inch system also goes unchanged.
The firm sold 939 brand-new examples of the Sonata in the first six months of 2016, a result which represents a 35 percent increase over the same 2015 period. Hyundai Australia says it hopes the update will improve on an already strong result in the last half of the year.
“The upgrade, particularly with the Premium model and it’s more advanced safety features, will make the model far more competitive in the segment and we definitely feel there will be a renewed interest in the Sonata,” Hyundai Australia’s Guido Schenken said. “An interest that we believe will be reflected in the sales”.